Monday, May 7, 2018

Ye Olde Renn Faire Post

Last weekend I took the twins out to the Renn Faire.  Located in scenic Irwindale, the SoCal Renaissance Pleasure Faire is the original first-of-its-kind "Renn Faire."  Despite the name, it's not a weird sex thing.

At least, it's not advertised as such.

The Renn Faire is basically interactive Medieval Times and it's fun for the whole family, assuming the "whole family" is made up of you and your crippling alcohol problem.

The #1 thing to do at the Faire is to get stupid drunk; there is a huge amount of alcohol.  I suppose it makes sense, since people back during the Renaissance drank lots of beer and wine, although I felt that the mixed peach schnapps drink that every booth was promoting was a little anachronistic.

Anywho!  My review of the Renn Faire.

If you've never been to a faire, then the first thing you should know is that it's expensive.  You'll have to make at least one stop to Ye Olde ATM.  (Be sure to call it that.  People always laugh at that joke no matter how many times you say it.)

I went dressed as Thor because that was the Renaissanceyest thing I had on hand and, let's face it, any excuse to wear a cape, right?

Within moments, my cape lust proved to be my downfall, and I purchased a new cape despite having a perfectly good one on hand and the temperature being a sultry ninety-two degrees.  Another visit to Ye Olde ATM was made.

Like most fairs, the Rennaissance one is essentially made up of vendor booths.  There are some rides and some performances (hope you like bagpipes because all Renn performances are legally required to have a bagpipe guy in a kilt), but the glue that holds the place together is the food and the shopping.

 Ye moste fattening churros.

When you go shopping, you will find:
  • corsets.  So many corsets.   Because every corset place is desperately trying to distinguish itself, you'll quickly start seeing shit like Batman corsets, glow-in-the-dark corsets, snakeskin corsets... every gimmick you can think of has, at some point in time, been made into a corset.
  • crystal stuff.  Apparently ye olde Renaissancers were very into crystal healing.
  • bone stuff.  You'll see lots of cool bone stuff.  Personally I like the bone stuff.  I like that you can wear the bones of your enemies as earrings, assuming your enemies are squirrels.
  • personalized kitsch.  Has anyone ever actually bought a wooden carving that says "YE OLDE BEDROOM OF BRAYDEN'S?"  I don't know why, but these are at every fair (and faire) I've ever been to.
  • mugs.  Renn Faires sell LOTS of mugs, chalices, goat horns, and other containers to drink out of.  This makes sense because you start feeling weird walking around holding a plastic Coors Light cup in garb.  "Garb" is what you call your Renaissance clothes in order to convince people that the sheet of red cloth you pinned to your shirt is totally a real cape and not just literally a sheet of red cloth you pinned to your shirt.
  • hair crap.  Renn Faire puts Coachella to shame with the hair wreaths and crowns.
  • smelly stuff.  Incense is HUGE.  So is soap, which baffles the mind, as it was my understanding that people in the 1600s were not known for their washing habits.
It's hard not to spend money.

On the plus side, I came across zero multi-level marketing stalls.  Every vendor at the faire seemed to be an ACTUAL small business owner, not just a soccer mom shilling doTERRA or LuLaRoe.

If you're a cheapskate, you can forsake the desire to shop in lieu of people-watching.  Here's a fun game: take a shot every time you see:
  • a lady with EE boobs exploding from her corset.
  • someone on a Rascal scooter.
  • a neckbeard sporting Ye Olde Fedora and m'ladying at the lady with the EE boobs.
  • obvious Game of Thrones cosplay.
  • Deadpool.
  • stormtrooper.
  • furries.
  • old dude who might literally be a time traveler, with an impeccable costume and completely authentic weaponry.
  • pirates (bonus point if they are clearly Captain Jack Sparrow, have a mermaid with them, or are drunkenly hitting on uncostumed college girls).
  • steampunk shit.
  • fantasy creatures.  (Guys, NEVER existed, not even in 1600!)  Usually it's fairies for the gals and hobbits for the guys, and you'll see lots of pointy elf ears on all genders.  There seemed to be some confusion about whether we were in England, or Tamriel.  There were a lot of Khajiit who had wares, if I had coin.
  • gladiators.  I saw several Roman gladiators who appeared to be at the wrong festival.
It sounds like I'm being critical, but I'm not.  Except of the Stormtroopers.  Fuck off out of here with your space shit.  I don't go to Star Wars conventions dressed as a zombie or the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz; they are different fandoms, and seeing stormtroopers really breaks the illusion of the quaint English village I'm trying to enjoy.

I can get behind the Lord of the Rings and Elder Scrolls shit because those fantasies were inspired by medieval stuff and, ultimately, at a Renaissance faire, you are roleplaying a medieval fantasy.  So they make sense.  But seeing people dressed as Stormtroopers infuriates me.  Even the steampunkers and Dr. Who fans manage to blend in a little.  But Stormtroopers are a glaring mar on an otherwise perfect festival, in my opinion.  Imagine if you had some Legolas-dressed bozo at a sci-fi screeching "WHAT BLACK MAGIC IS THIS?" every time someone pulled out a stun gun.  Yeah.  Kinda breaks the illusion, makes things less enjoyable.

Speaking of enjoying, the best bang-for-your-buck is 100% the petting zoo.  Six dollars and you can touch so many animals.  Yay!

 The pig squealed when I hugged it.
Ye loude porker doth refuseth my hugs.  :(

I bumped into four or five friends at the faire which just goes to show how ubiquitous the faire is, or maybe just how nerdy all my friends are.

One group I met up with at the beginning, which had started at eight strong, had dwindled to two: two were in a med tent thanks to too much alcohol, two had been thrown out, and two were MIA.  This should give you some idea of the level of drinking that occurs at the the faire.

A lot.

Anyways, in summary, it's totally worth the $30, but expect to pay more for drinks, food, and souvenirs.  And leave your Stormtrooper costume at home.

There's no such thing as lightsaber jousting, although, having said it, 
I realize that I have a mighty need for such a thing to exist.

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